ART forces MTN to halt fibre rollout

17 Aug 2009

Cameroonian newspaper Le Messager is reporting that the country’s telecoms regulator, Agence de Regulation des Telecommunications (ART), has settled a dispute between state-owned incumbent telco CamTel and mobile operator MTN Cameroon regarding the cellco’s deployment of an 81km fibre-optic cable in Douala. Decision No 000113/Art/Dg/DajciI of 11 August 2009 signed by the director general of ART, Jean-Louis Mbeh Mengue, requests MTN to halt deployment of fibre-optics in the city, and subjects the cellco to a penalty of CFA10 million (USD22,000) per day of delay from the date of service. According to the report, ART said that the cellco did not obtain approval from the relevant state agencies for the deployment of its network, stating that amongst other things, MTN has not met ‘technical specifications for civil engineering of telecommunications networks in Cameroon’ and has not complied with ‘provisions of Decree No. 77/526 of 23 December 1977 on the protection of cables or electric, water pipes or gas, sewage or equipment of the same nature.’ CamTel objected to MTN’s project, claiming that it holds exclusive responsibility for the installation and management of optical fibre for intercity and urban areas.